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Rosemary Yeaxlee becomes Honorary Life Member of EMAS

Rosemary with Patricia Price on the 2002 EMAS study tour to Languedoc
(click on the images to enlarge)

It is with mixed sadness and immense gratitude that we announce the retirement of Rosemary Yeaxlee as a member of the EMAS Committee. In recognition of her huge contribution to the work and development of the Society, we are delighted to offer her a well-deserved Honorary Life Membership.

Rosemary’s first hands-on contact with London archaeology came in the early 1980’s, when she worked as a volunteer on the Bermondsey Abbey excavations. Her enthusiasm extended into to her primary school teaching, and her class were keen visitors to the dig.

Her interest in archaeology also led to her attending courses held by Birkbeck College. It was through the Birkbeck courses that the decision was made to create an extra-mural archaeology society. The first EMAS Committee comprised Colin Anderson, David Beard, Edna Clancy, Dave O’Meara and, of course, Rosemary. Our first Honorary President was Professor Martin Biddle.

Excavations at Bermondsey Abbey in the 1980s
(r to l) Rosemary Yeaxlee, Margaret Serpico and Kieran Heard
indicating the positions of robbed out buttresses

Rosemary gave up teaching and took an M.A. at the London Institute of Archaeology. Following this, she worked as an archaeologist for what was then the Department of Greater London Archaeology at the Museum of London. Her work with DGLA ceased, as it did for many London archaeologists, when the 1990’s recession caused a major decline in construction, bringing about the end of pre-construction archaeology.

During the early years of EMAS the numbers of members continued to grow, and membership was extended beyond students of the Birkbeck extra-mural courses. At this time, EMAS was active in field work, especially in conjunction with MEMAS (the University of Manchester Extra Mural Archaeological Society).

Much work, in the form of survey and limited excavation, took place along the line of Offa’s Dyke, the work being directed by David Hill, Margaret Worthington and David Beard. Work, in the form of resistivity survey and test pits, also took place on Sashes Island in an attempt to locate the Anglo-Saxon Burh. Rosemary was an active participant in this work, and her garage became the EMAS tool store!

The increasing number of members and the deaths of Edna Clancy and Colin Anderson led to Rosemary taking on more and more of the administrative work of EMAS. It is indisputably through Rosemary’s efforts that EMAS continued to flourish.

EMAS wishes to express its thanks to Rosemary for all that she has done. We hope that she will continue to take part in the various EMAS events as an Honorary Life Member.

Thank you, Rosemary!

2002 EMAS study tour to Languedoc

2008 EMAS study tour to Poitou-Charente

2014 EMAS study tour to The Scottish Borders

2018 EMAS study tour to The Isle of Man

The EMAS 30th Party held in
Rosemary’s garden

Rosemary teaching school children about finds on one of the Southwark training digs